Mr. Jonathan acknowledged the great intelligence, integrity, competence and humility with which Mr. Lukman distinguished himself in all his national and international assignments.
President Godluck Jonathan; Senate President, David Mark; Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, were some of the prominent Nigerians that mourned the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Rilwanu Lukman, who passed on in a private hospital in Vienna, Austria in the early hours of Monday.
Others who sent in their condolence messages also included Kaduna state governor, Ramalan Yero; Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Andrew Yakubu
President Jonathan said in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media), Rueben Abati, that he received the news of Mr. Lukman’s death with “sadness and a feeling of great national loss”.
He commiserated with the former minister’s family, the government and people of Kaduna state, his friends, associates and all those he mentored over the years in the domestic and global oil industry.
The president said he shared in their sorrows as they mourn “the brilliant engineer, technocrat and administrator” who spent almost all of his working life serving his country and the global community in various capacities including Minister, Special Adviser, Secretary-General and President of the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries, OPEC.
Joining all who knew him in giving thanks to God Almighty for bestowing him on Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan acknowledged the great intelligence, integrity, competence and humility with which Mr. Lukman distinguished himself in all his national and international assignments.
The President said that he and Nigeria believe the country would always owe a huge debt of gratitude to the late Petroleum Minister for his very significant contributions to the development of the country’s oil and gas industry, and for serving with acclaimed distinction as Nigeria’s representative at OPEC for many years.
Atiku, who described Mr. Lukman’s death as a monumental loss to the country, said in a condolence message by his Media Office in Abuja that he was the best oil minister Nigeria ever had.
“I will describe (Rilwan) Lukman as the best oil minister we ever had given his unmatched knowledge of the industry and the integrity with which he ran the ministry,” Atiku said in the statement.
Recalling Mr. Lukman’s contributions to the management of the country’s oil and gas sector, the former Vice President said they provided the impetus for his elevation as Secretary General of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.
Atiku prayed that God to grant his family and the nation the fortitude to bear the loss.
Mr. Tambuwal expressed shock and sadness over the death of the former Minister, describing him as a thorough-bred technocrat, who served his country diligently at home and abroad.
“Lukman was a pioneer authority whose deep knowledge of the petroleum and gas sub-sector led to the formulation of various policies that have impacted positively on Nigeria. He was one Nigerian who was respected globally for his diligence, creativity, honesty and commitment to duty. We will miss a global ambassador who did his best for his fatherland whenever called upon to serve,” Mr. Tambulwa said.
In his message, Kaduna state governor expressed grief over Mr. Lukman’s death, noting that this was a great loss not only to Kaduna State and Nigeria, as the entire World would also miss his wealth of experience in the energy sector.
He said Mr. Lukman’s exit at the critical moment of the country’s history would definitely create a huge gap difficult to be filled.
“His death came at a time the country needed his experience in its quest to modernise the petroleum sector to attract more foreign direct investments,” he said.
On her part, Mrs. Alison-Madueke, expressed shock and a deep sense of loss over the death of a man she described as an exemplary statesman, pointing out that his death was a personal loss, as he was her immediate predecessor in office.
She expressed her condolences to the family of Mr. Lukman, saying “Nigeria and the global Petroleum Industry have lost an astute diplomat, a seasoned technocrat, and a trailblazer, who achieved many firsts in his lifetime”.
The GMD of NNPC, Mr. Yakubu, also expressed grief at the passing of the former Minister, describing his passage as “a monumental loss to the global oil and gas industry and Nigeria as a country”.